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 BARNSLEY HISTORY- WIKIPEDIA

The first historical reference occurs in 1086 in the Domesday Book, in which it is called 'Berneslai' with a total population of around 200. The exact origins of the name Barnsley is still subject to debate, but Barnsley Council claims that its origins lie in the Saxon word Berne, for barn or storehouse, and Lay, for field.

The town lay in the parish of Silkstone and developed little until in the 1150s it was given to the monastery of St John, Pontefract. The monks decided to build a new town where three roads met: the Sheffield to Wakefield, Rotherham to Huddersfield and Cheshire to Doncaster routes. The Domesday village became known as "Old Barnsley", and a town grew up on the new site.

The monks erected a chapel-of-ease dedicated to Saint Mary, which survived intact until 1820, and established a market. In 1249, a Royal Charter was granted to Barnsley permitting it to hold a weekly market on Wednesdays and annual four-day fair at Michaelmas. By the 1290s, three annual fairs were held. The town became the main centre for the Staincross wapentake, but in the mid-sixteenth century still had only 600 inhabitants.

From the 17th century, Barnsley developed into a stop-off point on the route between Leeds, Wakefield, Sheffield and London. The traffic generated as a result of this location fuelled trade, with hostelries and related services also prospering. A principal centre for linen weaving during the 18th and 19th century, Barnsley grew into an important manufacturing town. Barnsley also has a long tradition of glass-making, but is most famous for its coalfields. George Orwell briefly mentions the town in The Road to Wigan Pier. Orwell spent a number of days in the town living in the houses of the working-class miners while researching for the book. He wrote very critically of the council's expenditure on the construction of Barnsley Town Hall and claimed that the money should have been spent on improving the housing and living conditions of the local miners.
   

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